Faupel Musser Love, P.C.

3 types of divorce mediation: Which is right for you?

Arguably, any kind of divorce mediation is better than no divorce mediation. The process will probably save you time, headache and money during the finalization of your divorce. That being said, there are several types of divorce mediation that couples will be able to choose from when they're finalizing a break-up.

Here are three popular styles of mediation today:

Facilitative mediation: Most mediation proceedings can be described as "facilitative" mediation. In this style, the mediator will attentively examine both sides of the divorce, listening to each spouse equally to fully understand their divorce objectives and offer informed suggestions. The mediator will allow the spouses to benefit from his or her professional knowledge about conflict resolution and common strategies for resolving potential areas of disagreement.

In some cases, both spouses will be with the mediator at the same time. Other times, the parties will be in separate rooms and the mediator will serve as a buffer, transmitting information from room to room. Both spouses will usually be represented by their respective attorneys during this process.

Evaluative mediation: An evaluative mediator does the same as a facilitative mediator, but with a very important difference. The evaluative mediator will offer specific legal knowledge, basically telling the couple what a judge will likely decide regarding a particular area of disagreement. If the spouses trust the mediator and his or her assessment, this can be a valuable process because the couples can achieve a similar result to going to trial, without the cost and stress. Furthermore, they can always decide to reject or accept the mediator's opinions.

Transformative mediation: A transformative mediator will ask the parties to meet with each other and the mediator at the same time. Both spouses will be asked and supported to express their concerns. The mediator assists the spouses to be civil and respectful, and to listen to one another. The idea is that they can work out their differences and be "transformed" by the process by reaching a mutual agreement and seeing one another in a positive light again.

Divorcing spouses interested in exploring divorce mediation will be doing themselves and their families a great service. The process is particularly helpful when children are involved -- no matter which style of mediation the spouses choose -- because it will help protect the children from the threat of conflict and toxic emotions.

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